December 7, 2011

It all comes down to Love.

Having a daily job in the church is truly giving me a new perspective of church people. Normally, my only contact with other church people is on Sabbath for maybe a couple hours, with the majority of that time being the service. So this is my first time seeing how the people who are so quick to extend a Happy-Sabbath-God-is-so-good-Im-blessed-&-highly-favored greeting act on the other six days of the week. So far, I am not very impressed.

Yesterday was the last day of the Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Conference held in the church where I work. So, of course, it was packed full of visiting pastors & other leaders. In the midst of all this, one of the visitors loses his phone. He comes into the church office asking if it has been returned. He couldn’t describe the phone or tell me what the model was. All he offered was that it was a Verizon phone… He also couldn’t answer any of the identification questions. So when I asked him for the phone number so I could see if the phone in my drawer was his, he decides to yell at me for ‘going too far’ & being disrespectful & rude. He also says that he is going to tell my manager about ‘my behavior.’ He gives me the number during this fit, & it turned out that the phone that was turned in wasn’t his anyway. So he storms out of the office, telling whoever will listen in the hallway about how rude I was.

I was particularly upset by this exchange because I expected a higher level of behavior from him. But what I got was a very nasty view of church people. I found out later that he was not only a visiting person, but a pastor. The leader of a church. When I learned that, I was taken aback. What does this behavior say about Seventh-day Adventist Christians? When we act like this, we cannot possibly think that God is being represented. Jesus, Himself, put a great deal of weight & importance on how we treat each other. He said loving your neighbor as yourself is the second great commandment, along with loving God with all your heart, soul, & mind. What message would be conveyed if on Sabbath afternoon we are feeding the homeless or doing bible study & come Tuesday our short fuses cause us to act in ways unbecoming of followers of Christ? What evangelism can come of that? What transformation? What vision of love?

There is a line of a song that kept repeating in my head after the above incident. It says, “I wonder what life would be like if we let Jesus live through you & me.” What would it be like? We would be slow(er) to anger… more loving… more understanding… kind… patient… We would be a force of good in a world where genuine goodness is the exception & not the rule. We would be more likely to help another person meet their needs rather than getting lost in the me-first societal view.

This experience has reiterated the fact that every day we are testaments. We are walking comparisons- mirrors of Christ, whether the image is clear or foggy. My parents always told me to remember that I represent them all the time. Just as children represent their parents, we represent Christ. Each day we need to make the conscious decision to make sure our representation is correct. We need to be loving. Like Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

It all comes down to love.

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